The EU is negotiating trade deals with Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), Indonesia, and soon Malaysia, These trade deals represent a risk for the EU’s sustainable transport plans. All mentioned countries are producers and exporters of crop-based biofuels, especially from palm and soybean oil that have higher overall emissions than fossil diesel. All ongoing negotiations include chapters on energy and raw materials.
The European Union relies on foreign companies to supply 80% of its oil imports, according to a new study on the continent’s oil dependency. Russian firms supply more than one-third (36%) of imported crude, and just two of the top 10 oil suppliers to the EU are European – Shell and Norway’s Statoil.
“As expected” mumbled Commission president Juncker when an aide passed him a note saying Trump had decided to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminium. The American administration had been playing with the Europeans for nearly two months but threats of retaliation, offers of new trade deals (TTIP light), and a grand visit from the French president had done nothing to dissuade US president Donald Trump.
The EU’s current trade policy could undermine Europe’s goal of decarbonising transport by encouraging the consumption of unsustainable biofuels, a new report has found. With free trade talks between the EU and the Mercosur countries ongoing, there are serious concerns that the removal of trade barriers in energy and raw materials could lead to an increase in imports of unsustainable biodiesel from Argentina – if sustainability safeguards are not put in place. The report says there is a need for coherence in EU trade and climate policies.
A free trade agreement between the EU and the Mercosur countries – talks over which resumed this week – could undermine Europe’s goal to stop consuming unsustainable biofuels in transport. A new report by Transport & Environment (T&E) published today shows that the removal of trade barriers in energy and raw materials could lead to an increase in imports of unsustainable biodiesel from Argentina, if sustainability safeguards are not put in place. The report highlights the need for coherence in EU trade and climate policies.
Some of the world’s most valuable forests are still being destroyed in order to make palm oil, of which a considerable portion ends up as biodiesel for use on Europe’s roads. That is the striking message from an investigation by a global alliance of NGOs, including T&E, that has uncovered horrific deforestation in Indonesia’s pristine rainforest in the remote province of Papua. T&E says this highlights the urgent need for the EU to correct the anomalies in European legislation that allow climate-harming biofuels to count towards climate targets.
The EU’s certification system for the sustainability of biofuels is ‘not fully reliable’, the European Court of Auditors (ECA), the independent EU body in charge of scrutinising Europe’s public spending, has said. In a report in July it found that the certification system ‘did not adequately cover some important aspects necessary to ensure the sustainability of biofuels’. The majority of ‘sustainable’ EU biofuels are certified through European Commission-recognised voluntary schemes.
Countries around the world have reached a critical moment in the fight against climate change. Last year, hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets demanding climate action, more than 190 countries reached a climate agreement in Paris, and renewable energy became more affordable and accessible to communities across the globe. Meanwhile, in sharp contradiction to that, countries negotiated new trade deals that would empower fossil fuel corporations to undermine the exact climate and conservation policies that are needed to tackle the climate crisis.